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Design for College West Expansion Approved; Longtime Member of Board of Directors Retires


The Pennsylvania College of Technology Board of Directors on Thursday unanimously approved the architect’s design for the expansion of College West Apartments.

The project will enlarge the 414-bed student-housing complex by 365 beds, bringing the total number of beds available on the main campus to more than 1,400. The construction is expected to be completed in time for Fall 2003 occupancy.

At its February meeting, the Board approved a bond issue of $28.5 million to $32 million to expand College West, renovate the former HON Industries manufacturing facility to accommodate space-restricted majors, refurbish the Klump Academic Center and retrofit four other buildings on campus for additional instructional uses.

At Thursday’s board meeting, Martin Murray and Benedict Dubbs of Murray Associates Architects presented their firm’s plans for the two-building addition to the College West facility. Both new buildings will be four stories tall, providing 130,000 square feet of additional space. The buildings will feature brick-and-stucco exteriors and will house two-bedroom, one-bedroom and studio apartment units. The 365 beds include 356 for students, eight for Resident Assistants and one for a professional staff member.

Penn College President Dr. Davie Jane Gilmour said the four-story design is less expensive than a two-story plan that had been considered, but is not so tall as to compromise “the culture of residence life we’re hoping to create.”

Murray said the primary challenges are to have the new design blend harmoniously with the existing three-story units at College West and to meet the “aggressive schedule” for construction. The new buildings will feature more masonry elements than the existing structures. The Board was able to view brick samples and several large drawings of the addition.

In other business, it was announced that Kathryn W. Lumley, a member of the Penn College Board since its inception in 1989 and a former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the College’s predecessor institution, Williamsport Area Community College, has retired from her director’s position.

Board Chairman Dr. Robert E. Dunham announced Lumley’s retirement.

“While we accept Kay’s retirement from regular service to the Board, we anticipate that her close, personal involvement with Penn College will continue,” Dr. Dunham said. “She is our longest-serving director. Her history and perspective, gained from more than 20 years of experience on the Board, contributes in an important way to our leadership of the institution today. We have learned a great deal from Kay and we expect she will remain a close confidant for directors in the future. I personally have treasured and benefited from her advice, experience and warm friendship.”

Beginning her service to the College in 1978 as a director on the W.A.C.C. Board of Trustees, Lumley became vice chairman in 1984-85 and chairman in 1985-86. She continued serving the institution as a member of the Board of Directors when the College became a special mission affiliate of The Pennsylvania State University in 1989. The College’s Kathryn Wentzel Lumley Aviation Center, located at the Williamsport Regional Airport, is named in her honor.

“It has been an honor for me to have worked with Kay since my early days on the College faculty,” said Dr. Gilmour. “She always has been one of the most enthusiastic, vocal and visible supporters of our faculty, staff and students. She has given a great deal of her time, talents and energy to the growth of this institution. Employees, who know her well, hold the deepest affection and admiration for her.”

Before joining the Board, Lumley was a teacher, reading specialist, educational administrator, children’s author and one of the founders of “Reading is Fundamental.” With the late cartoonist Charles M. Schulz of “Peanuts” fame, Lumley collaborated on “Snoopy’s Secret Code Book.”

“I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Lumley told her fellow Board members, adding she’s proud to have been “a part of something that just keeps getting better and better all the time.”

Dunham said he will bring a proposal before the Board at its June 20 meeting to recognize the contributions Lumley has made to the College over the years.

To fill Lumley’s seat on the Board, the Corporation for Penn State has named Williamsport resident Ronna S. McMurtrie.

McMurtrie moved to Williamsport in 1975 and worked as a reading specialist in the Williamsport Area School District. She was owner/director of Educational Specialists, an educational service facility, and later became Act 101 assistant program director at W.A.C.C. In 1990, McMurtrie became acting co-director, and later executive director, of the Williamsport-Lycoming Arts Council.

McMurtrie earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Bloomsburg University. In addition, she was a certified reading specialist and completed course work for a doctoral degree at Penn State.

McMurtrie was a member of the board of directors of the Williamsport-Lycoming Arts Council and was appointed to the Local Government Panel of the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts for two years. She served on the steering committee of the Rural Pennsylvania Arts Network, an organization formed to help rural artists and organizations, and the local Arts Committee of the Pennsylvania Arts Alliance. She has served on the boards of the Community Arts Center, Preservation Williamsport and the Children’s Discovery Workshop. In addition, she was appointed to the Advisory Board of the Lycoming County Historical Society. She has been a consistent supporter of Pennsylvania College of Technology, having served on the Corporate Advisory Board, the Act 101 Advisory Board and the Pennsylvania College of Technology Foundation Board of Directors.

McMurtrie was appointed to the Williamsport Planning Commission and served on the boards of the Williamsport YMCA, the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America, the Advisory Board for Easter Seals, the Lycoming County American Cancer Society and the Association for Brain Tumor Research. She served on the Williamsport-Lycoming Foundation Advisory Board and was a member of the Project Committee. She was honored by the Williamsport-Lycoming Arts Council for her contribution to the arts, and she received the Brotherhood Award in 1994 for her service to others.

McMurtrie and her late husband, John, have two daughters, Cindy and Elise; and two sons, John and Bennett.

Also on Thursday, the Board approved faculty sabbatical leaves for 2002-03 for Jeffrey L. Rankinen, associate professor of electronics; Roy P. Fontaine, professor of psychology; and Billie A. Coffman, associate professor of early childhood education.

Rankinen will take a year’s leave to complete course work and the comprehensive exam and to work on research toward a doctoral degree at Penn State. Fontaine will take a Spring 2003 leave to become a full-time graduate student at Penn State. Subsequently, he will complete his master’s degree as a part-time student. Coffman will take a Fall 2002 leave to satisfy a residency requirement toward the completion of her doctoral degree at Penn State and to develop a new education elective.

The Board approved faculty promotions for Sharon G. Auker (from assistant professor to associate professor of nursing); Dennis R. Dorward (from assistant professor to associate professor of building construction management); William T. Goddard (from instructor to assistant professor of construction technology); Michelle A. Latshaw (from assistant professor to associate professor of physician assistant); Christine M. Mulhollen (from instructor to assistant professor of physician assistant); and Katherine A. Walker (from instructor to assistant professor of drafting and CAD technology).

In addition, the Board:

  • Authorized the College to continue operations after June 30 at the current budgeted levels in the event the state budget does has not been passed by then.
  • Authorized the president and/or vice president for business affairs to enter into a contract for banking services with Sun Bank for a two-year period beginning July 1, 2002 and ending June 30, 2004. Sun Bank tendered the lowest bid among five proposals.

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